MTA higher ed unions agree to new contracts

After a prolonged struggle, MTA higher education unions have agreed to new contract terms that delay payment of negotiated raises by 364 days in each of the next three years. These new deals have been approved by the membership of all of the MTA higher education units.

MTA higher education association leaders finalized these contracts in recent weeks with their respective employers, the Board of Higher Education and the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. On July 9, Governor Deval Patrick submitted to the Legislature a supplemental budget that includes funding for the ratified higher education contracts. The supplemental budget, House Bill 4868, is now awaiting the approval of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The contracts reached by MTA unions representing faculty, librarians and professional staff include a 1.5 percent retroactive increase as of June 30 and two subsequent 3.5 percent increases on June 30 of 2011 and 2012.

The new contracts for MTA members represented by classified units, whose members earn step increases, include a 1 percent retroactive increase as of June 30, 2010, and 3 percent increases on June 30 of 2011 and 2012. 

The Association of Professional Administrators, which is on a different contract cycle than the other MTA units, will receive retroactive pay and also raises at the end of the next two calendar years. APA members will receive a retroactive 1.5 percent pay increase dating back to December 31, 2009, and 3.5 percent increases on December 31, 2010, and December 31, 2011.

In addition to the APA, units affected by these contracts include the Classified Staff Union at UMass Boston, the Classified and Technical Union at UMass Lowell, the Massachusetts Community College Council, the Massachusetts State College Association, the Massachusetts Society of Professors and Faculty Staff Union at UMass Amherst, the Massachusetts Society of Professors at UMass Lowell, the Maintenance and Trades Union at UMass Lowell, the Professional Staff Union at UMass Amherst and UMass Boston, and the University Staff Association at UMass Amherst.

The MTA higher education unions have been involved in a contract struggle for more than three years. The campaign has included picketing, rallying, lobbying and meeting with state officials, including the governor. The last such meeting, in Natick on April 27, brought higher education leaders together from across the state. Such efforts are credited with the governor dropping his demand for furloughs – a provision that was included in the final settlements with other public employee unions.